Power and control are magnets for human beings. Anyone who is “dialed in” to our world today can see the magnetic attraction at work in industry, education, media, and politics. Our Founders knew this, so they structured our government with horizontal separation of powers (legislative, executive, judicial) and vertical boundaries (local, state, and national government) to keep power from consolidating. They cautioned us that we had to remain a moral people if we wanted to remain free.
All of the above begs the question, what if we “go off the rails?” What if we give in to the draw for power and control rather than doing what is right for the citizenry? What if we care more about personal power and control instead of advocating for the nation’s general welfare? The answer: lawlessness happens.
When laws are passed, they must go through the constitutional process. For example, a ratification procedure is outlined in Article VII of the Constitution. The Supreme Law of the Land had to pass legally in nine states (three-fourths of the states at that time) before we had a Constitution.
Article V outlines the amendment process. Two-thirds of both Houses can propose amendments, OR two-thirds of the states can call for a Constitutional Convention. In either case, three-fourths of all states must ratify the proposed amendment before it can pass.
What if the amendment process looks like it was constitutional, but it was not? What if an amendment was “pushed through?” How could that possibly happen? Here are some examples:
-Several states can say they passed an amendment but did not follow the legal procedures.
– States report the amendment passed when it actually did not.
-Maybe the amendment passed the legislature, but the Governor didn’t sign it.
– A state may have violated its own state constitution in the ratification process, thus making the amendment null and void. The violation has to be reported, but if it’s not, the amendment “passes,” but not legally.
– Not even one small change to the amendment can be made at the state level. The amendment must pass without additions or corrections, or else the amendment process must start all over. But what if that tiny change of a preposition or punctuation isn’t reported?
All of the above has allegedly happened in the early twentieth century. How could such deviations escape notice? Power and control are addictive, and people will do strange things to obtain them. My point is not to get into the Constitutional Convention issue or stir up emotions. The point is to recognize that we must remain vigilant to guard our Constitution and the process of amending it. It’s personal. We are charged with the duty to be vigilant. Our Founders never intended that Americans should leave governance to the discretion of officials.
It may cost us something. We should count the cost. Weigh the evidence. Lean into the side of what is morally and legally right.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.🇺🇸